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Privacy Policy

Uses & Acceptable Disclosures of Protected Health Information

Salem Area VNA may use and disclose your medical records for the following purposes - treatment, payment, and health care operations. Treatment means providing, coordinating, or managing health care and related services by one or more health care providers. An example of this would be communicating with agency staff, physicians, and/or other treatment providers or agencies involved in managing your treatment needs. Payment means such activities as obtaining reimbursement for NOTICE OF PRIVACY PRACTICES
Salem Area Visiting Nurse Association - Effective April 13, 2003

THIS NOTICE DESCRIBES HOW MEDICAL INFORMATION ABOUT YOU MAY BE USED AND DISCLOSED AND HOW YOU CAN GET ACCESS TO THIS INFORMATION. PLEASE REVIEW IT CAREFULLY.

The Health Insurance Portability & Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) is a federal program that requires all medical records and other individually identifiable health information that is used or disclosed by us in any form, whether electronically, on paper, or orally, are kept properly confidential. HIPAA gives you the patient, significant new rights to understand and control how your health information is used. It also provides penalties for covered entities that misuse personal health information.

As required by HIPAA, we have prepared this explanation of how we are required to maintain the privacy of your health information and how we may use and disclose your health information.

Services, confirming coverage, or billing collection activities, and utilization review. Examples of this would be sending a bill for covered services, checking authorization prior to services beginning, and review of your patient records by third party payer.

Health Care Operations include the business aspects of running our organizations, such as conducting quality assessment and improvement activities, auditing functions, cost/management analysis, and customer service. An example of this would be review of your files by our accrediting organizations such as Joint Commission of Accreditation of Health Care Organizations (JCAHO) or our Medicare surveys.

Salem Area VNA will comply with the privacy regulations with respect to the protected health information of a deceased individual as long as patient records are maintained (7 years post treatment for adults, 7 years past achievement of age 21 for children’s records).

We may also create and distribute de/identified health information by removing all references to individually identifiable information. De/identified health information removes any information connecting it to the individual or there is at least a reasonable basis to believe that the information cannot be used to identify any individual.

We may contact you to provide reminders of visit times, or to schedule visits. We may also contact you with any information about treatment alternatives or other health related benefits and services that may be related to your care while under our services, or in planning for post discharge alternatives.

Uses & Disclosures for Which an Authorization is Not Required

Salem Area VNA may disclose protected health information without the authorization of the individual, or the opportunity of the individual to agree or object, in the following situations:

• Uses and disclosures required by law. The provider may use or disclose protected health information (PHI) to the extent required by law and the use or disclosure complies with and is limited to the relevant requirement of such law.
• Uses and disclosures for public health activities. These activities include but are not limited to: reporting of communicable diseases, reporting of child abuse or neglect, and/or reporting of disease, injury, vital events such as deaths, and the conduct of public health surveillance activities.
• Disclosures about victims of abuse, neglect, and/or domestic violence. The agency must comply with mandatory reporting requirements to the extent the disclosure is required by law and the disclosure complies with and is limited to the relevant requirements of the law.
• Uses and disclosures for health oversight activities. The provider may disclosure (PHI) for oversight activities authorized by law, including audits: civil, administrative, or criminal investigations, inspections, licensure or disciplinary actions, or other activities necessary of appropriate oversight of:

Health care system (s); Government benefit programs for which health information is relevant for eligibility; Entities subject to government regulatory programs for which health information is necessary for determining compliance with program standards; Entities subject to civil rights laws for which health information is necessary for determining compliance.

• Disclosures for judicial and administrative proceedings. The provider may disclose PHI in the course of any judicial or administrative proceeding in response to a court order or subpoena only to the extent authorized by such order.
• Disclosures for law enforcement purposes.
• The provider may disclose PHI to a law enforcement official in the following situations:

Pursuant to process and as required by law; Limited information for identification and location purposes; Victims of a crime; Decedents; Crime on premises; Reporting crime in emergencies.

• Uses and disclosures about decedents. The provider may disclose PHI for purpose of identifying a deceased person, determining a cause of death, and notification of a funeral director.
• Uses and disclosures for organ and tissue donations.
• Uses and disclosures for research purposes.
• Uses and disclosures to avert a serious threat to health or safety
• Uses and disclosures for specialized government functions. This permits the provider to disclose PHI for certain military and veteran’s activities, national security, and intelligence activities, and protective services for the president and/or others.
• Disclosures for worker’s compensation. The provider may disclose PHI as authorized by and to the extent necessary to comply with the laws related to workers compensation or other similar programs.

Any other uses and disclosures other that those specified above will be made only with your written authorization. You may revoke such authorization in writing and we will be required to honor and abide by that written request, except to the extent that we have already taken actions relying on your authorization.

Individual Rights

You have the following rights with respect to your protected health information, which you can exercise by presenting a written request to the Salem Area VNA privacy officer:

• The right to request restrictions on certain uses and disclosures of protected health information, including those related to the disclosures to family members, other relatives, close personal friends, or any other person identified by you. We are, however, not required to agree to requested restrictions. If we do agree to a restriction we must abide by it unless you agree in writing to remove it.
• The right to reasonable requests to receive confidential communications of PHI from us by alternative means or at alternative locations.
• The right to inspect and copy your protected health information.
• The right to amend your protected health information.
• The right to receive an accounting of disclosures of protected health information. This right does not apply to activities related to treatment, payment, and health care operations of the agency. It also does not apply to those areas identified in the exceptions category listed above.• The right to obtain a paper copy of this notice from us upon request.

Salem Area VNA is required by law to maintain the privacy of your PHI and to provide you with notice of our legal duties and privacy practices with respect to PHI.

This notice is effective April 1, 2003, and we are required to abide by the terms of the Notice of Privacy Practices currently in effect. We reserve the right to change the terms of our Notice of Privacy Practices and to make the new notice provisions effective for all PHI that we maintain. We will provide you with a written copy of the notice on admission to our services and you may request a written copy of a revised Notice of Privacy Practices from this agency.

Complaint Process

If you feel your privacy protections have been violated, you have the right to file a formal written complaint. You may file a complaint with our office by requesting to speak with the Privacy Officer or address your written inquiry to “Attention Privacy Officer” Salem Area VNA. You may also file a complaint with the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Civil Rights, about violations of the provisions of this notice or the policies and procedures of our office. We will not retaliate against you for filing a complaint.

For more information about HIPAA or to file a complaint:

Privacy Officer

Salem Area Visiting Nurse Association
718 E. Third Street, Suite A
Salem, Ohio 44460
(330) 332-9986

The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
Office of Civil Rights
200 Independence Ave., S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20201
(202) 619-0257
Toll Free: 1-877-696-6775

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